Timeline improvements

I have been using the timeline a lot recently (in moodle with students set up as teachers in different courses so they can create timelines as an activity). As a result of this experience I would like to see the following:

1. When going in to edit settings it would be better if the dates were 'rolled up' rather than 'rolled down', for,
a) it can be very confusing to find the right place when the settings page is so long,
b) there can be confusion between the settings for the timeline generally and the settings for a specific date.
Alternatively a button to 'roll up' or 'roll down' all the dates would give users an option to do it their preferred way.

2. When 'rolled up' it would be good for the bar to display the date and title not just the date as that would make navigating to the right place easier.

3. Error checking might be brought forward.
a) If you 'roll up' a date with missing data you get an error message next to the box higlighting the problem but it is possible to save the settings page with missing data (without rolling up the date) and then you get an error saying 'missing mandatory data'. When you return to the settings page there is nothing highlighting the relevant fields. It would be better to save what data there is (to avoid data loss) but to leave you on the settings page with the relevant empty fields highlighted.
b) If the date is entered without commas (e.g. 20161026 ) then it isn't picked up or flagged as an error but the date isn't displayed in the timeline.
c) Although there is a * to indicate that a main timeline heading is required, if this is missing there is no error, furthermore, if there is a main timeline heading it doesn't display unless there is some accompanying body text.

4. Sometimes entered data hasn't saved. Not sure why. It would be good if there was a 'save' button that left you on the settings page so that periodic saves could be made to reduce the risk of significant entries being lost. Sometimes it seemed as if clicking outside of a field prevented some loss.

5. Adding images is temperamental.
a) It is odd that the background image can be uploaded but not linked whereas the others have to be linked.
b) It is confusing for the user to have both a background image and and Asset linked with the Main Timeline heading. It would be better for the background image selection process to come right at the very top to avoid this confusion.
b) although images are allowed from wikipedia it has to be the correct url.
The first url obtained from wikipedia might be
but that doesn't work, it seems it has to be the upload file url, i.e.

6. Linking to database
Is this timeline based on TimelineJS which works by linking to a Google Spreadsheet? If so it would be good in Moodle if it could be linked to a moodle database so that students might create their own without being given teacher status.

I have found that setting the students the task of researching and creating a timeline is likely to be a successful teaching activity but might be even better with some adaptions to the editing interface.

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timothylim23's picture

Thank you for your excellent feedback. Some of the suggestions are very thoughtful and they are giving us in the Core Team a better idea of how timeline is being used. I'll attempt to respond to each of the points in order:

  1. There is an option to "roll up" the dates, however you need to fill in all the text fields first.
  2. We are working on displaying the dates and the title. I've made a task on our public board, and you can follow it's developement by clicking the following link: https://h5ptechnology.atlassian.net/browse/HFP-174
  3. A better error checking system is something we have planned but is not in our short term goals. 
  4. Thanks for the detailed write up. I've filed an issue for the Core Team to begin working on: https://h5ptechnology.atlassian.net/browse/HFP-175
  5. I definitely agree on this point. I've filed another issue: https://h5ptechnology.atlassian.net/browse/HFP-176
  6. This is more of a long term goal and may have to be something the community picks up.

The Core Team can't promise when these changes will be fixed as our time is limited and our development is guided by features that are funded.